In a BBC Radio 4 interview [podcast], Vint Cerf – known as one of the founding fathers of the Internet – protested that the Internet is merely reflecting society not leading it…
[The net] should not be used as a scapegoat for society’s ills
Cerf, now Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, confirms the Search giant does not have nor wants the responsibility of censoring the Internet, but will respond appropriately to legal issues identified by relevant authorities – citing Google’s position in China as a prime example.
Anyone regulating beyond what was clearly illegal put themselves on a “slippery slope” that could limit freedom of expression.
His comments come after the UK’s Conservative Party proposed ideas to curb the access young people have to sites such as YouTube. Google (owner of YouTube) and other Social Networking sites have been heavily criticised in the UK Press for not excercising their self-regulation policies (where users flag offensive content) in a more timely fashion.
But Cerf rejects ideas of imposing constraints and suggests that these kind of issues should be rooted out organically:
We have a job to do, collectively as a society, to deal with the problems we discover… but suppressing the knowledge of what’s going on isn’t going to help us.